Seizures in Children Treatment
Self-Care at Home
Your initial efforts should be directed first at protecting the child from additionally injuring himself or herself.
- Help the child to lie down on his side, preferably in a flat, non-crowded area.
- Remove glasses or other harmful objects in the area.
- Do not try to put anything in the child's mouth to try to stop the seizure; you may injure the child or yourself.
- Immediately check to see if the child is breathing. Call 911 to obtain medical assistance if the child is not breathing or looks blue.
- After the seizure ends, place the child on one side and stay with the child until he or she is fully awake. Observe the child for breathing. If he or she is not breathing within 1 minute after the seizure stops, call 911, then start mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing (CPR). Do not try to do rescue breathing for the child during a convulsive seizure, because you may injure the child or yourself.
- If the child has a fever, acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) may be given rectally.
- Do not try to give food, liquid, or medications by mouth to a child who has just had a seizure.
- Children with known epilepsy (a history of seizures) should also be prevented from further injury by moving away solid objects in the area of the child. If the child is in a boat or near the water, restrain the child to prevent drowning. If you have discussed use of rectal medication (for example, Valium) with your child's doctor, give the child the correct dose as directed.
Treatment of children with seizures is different than treatment for adults. Unless a specific cause is found, most children with first-time seizures will not be placed on medications.
- Important reasons for not starting medications:
- During the first visit, many doctors cannot be sure if the event was a seizure or something else.
- Many seizure medications have side effects including damage to your child's liver or teeth.
- Many children will have only one, or very few, seizures in their lifetime.
- If medications are started:
- The doctor will follow the drug levels, which require frequent blood tests, and will watch closely for side effects. Often, it takes weeks to months to adjust the medications, and sometimes more than one medicine is needed.
- If your child has continuous seizures (status epilepticus), he or she will be treated very aggressively with IV antiseizure medications, admitted to the intensive care unit, and possibly be placed on a breathing machine.